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What hides behind the walls? Amber exhibition project at the Shakespeare Theater

26 of August '22

Oliwia Kapusta and Weronika Mach from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk are the authors of the project to exhibit amber at the Shakespeare Theater in Gdansk. Using the theater's spaces, the students created an exhibition in the form of a road, during which visitors discover the beauty of amber.

The project was created during the Elements of Scenographic Design class taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk by Marta Koniczuk. The task was to design a display of Baltic amber in a selected section of the Shakespeare Theater in Gdansk.

The Shakespeare Theater located at 1 Wojciech Boguslawski Street in Gdansk is a building that stands out from its surroundings, which aesthetically fit the theme of the project by the students of the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts. The theater's black brick walls simultaneously introduce a feeling of calm and mystery, as well as encourage visitors to explore, successive zones of the building.

Projekt wystawy bursztynu, przekrój i rzut

The design of the amber exhibition at the Shakespeare Theater.

© Oliwia Kapusta, Weronika Mach

amber chamber

Our project was inspired by the legend of the Amber Chamber. According to Kashubian legend, the chamber was created on the initiative of King Frederick I of Prussia and was made with great meticulousness. Only the best amber, of perfect color, texture and size, was used to build it. Each of them was conscientiously selected. Among other things, the efforts resulted in the creation of several monumental planes, accessories, ornaments and paneling, the authors say.

One of the main objectives of the students was to create an aura of mystery. Visitors to the exhibition are gradually led to the culminating space - a monolith showing the beauty and possibilities of the unique material amber.

Instalacja z żywicy

The resin installation resembles inclusions

© Oliwia Kapusta, Weronika Mach

The viewer has a chance to find the space by searching for it. The only signal informing of approaching the destination is the form of "pouring liquid gold". Then, following along, he encounters the monumental, massive form of solidified resin, to then come into contact with the fine matter of the exhibited element, which is amber ," the students explain.

path of exploration

The first element that visitors to the exhibition will notice is a delicate signal in the form of subtly guided elements in the joints of the walls. These are amber particles embedded in resin mass, giving the impression of gold floating between the black bricks of the theater. Viewers are then guided toward increasingly dense branches of gold to reach the massive installation.

Amber exhibition

The students have embedded amber particles in the joints

© Oliwia Kapusta, Weronika Mach

Resembling a huge mass of solidified amber, the form surrounds the observer from all sides. The procedure of juxtaposing a monumental form with the tinyness of a human being carries references to inclusions, i.e. organisms such as insects submerged in amber. The viewer feels as if he himself has become part of the amber," the authors add.

Amber exhibition project, design sketches

design sketch

© Oliwia Kapusta, Weronika Mach

the power of contrasts

The magnitude of the activities is also justified by the continuation of the exhibition path - only after overcoming the massive installation, visitors find themselves in a space with displays of amber. Here, in contrast to the earlier experience, the pieces on display are small matter in an equally small setting.

Amber displays resembling bricks

The amber displays resemble bricks

© Oliwia Kapusta, Weronika Mach

The form of the display, with small amber elements, refers to the brick facades of the Shakespeare Theater. The authors proposed a composition imitating the bricks, and their spacing in an irregular arrangement created additional spaces for the presentation of amber.

The unconventional positioning created conditions conducive to picturesque "dances of light and shadow", which, in contact with the matter of the stone, create spectacular and unique images, the students conclude.

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